About Sri Lanka

capital
: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, but Colombo is the commercial capital
Government
: Republic
Currency
: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Area
: Total: 65,610 km2
  Water: 870 km2
  Land: 64,740 km2
Population
: 20,064,776
Language
: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%,
  Tamil (official and national language) 18%,
  Other 8%,
 English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Religion
: Buddhist 70%, Hindu 15%, Christian 8%, Muslim 8%

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is in Southern Asia. It is an island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India. The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century BC, probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-3rd century BC, and a great civilization developed at such cities as Anuradhapura (kingdom from c.200 BC to c.1000 AD) and Polonnaruwa (c.1070 to 1200). Other notable but relatively more recent kingdoms are Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Gampola, Kandy and Jaffna Kingdoms.

Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, and became a crown colony in 1802. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; the name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.

The advantage of Sri Lanka as a tourism destination is threefold. Firstly it is an authentic tourism destination. Secondly it is a compact island of 65,610 sqkm where a tourist can travel the length and breadth of the country within a few days, thirdly the diversity of the tourism product is unparalleled .

For the simplicity of communicating the diversity of Sri Lanka in 2010 the tourism authorities started positioning the country around 8 different products namely; beaches, heritage, wildlife, scenic beauty, mind and body wellness, festivals, sports and adventure and Essence. The Essence of Sri Lanka include what is unique to the country such as its people, art and culture, spices, tea, gems, handy crafts etc.

Climate

Since Sri Lanka is a tropical country, you can expect the rain anytime of the year in most parts. However, the two major rainy seasons are North-East monsoon (October to January) and South-West monsoon (May to July). Being an island, the climate of Sri Lanka changes dramatically from one part of the country to another. For example at Nuwara Eliya, in the hills of Central Sri Lanka, has a temperature around -5-20 C throughout the year, whereas Hambanthota, located in the dry zone, has a temperature consistently around 30-35 C.

Food

Sri Lankan cuisine is one of the most complex cuisines of South Asia. Due to its proximity to South India, the cuisine of Sri Lanka shows some influence, yet is in many ways quite distinct. As a major trade hub, it draws influence from colonial powers that were involved in Sri Lanka and by foreign traders.

Main meals such as Rice and Curry which is consumed daily, can be found at any occasion, while spicy curries are favorite dishes for lunch and dinner. Breakfast dishes such as Hoppers (Appa) and String Hoppers (Indi Appa). Special Occasion and Festive dishes such as Milk Rice (Kiribath) and Sweet meats (Kavum, Kokis, Asmi etc.) Fast food- Kottu

Drink

Ceylon Tea is world famous for its high quality and has remained a major contributor to the island’s economy for generations. A very popular drink is Faluda, a mixed cold drink with syrup, ice cream, jelly pieces and basil seeds. Fruit juices are popular in Sri Lanka, especially passionfruit juice Toddy, is a mildly alcoholic drink made from palm tree sap. Arrack is considered the de facto distilled national drink by many.